"I Drew Myself as a Pirate" - An Interview with Peter Bainbridge.

Posted by Angela Tandori on

We asked fashion-photographer-turned-artist Peter Bainbridge some questions about his new collection of portraits, 'An Imaginary Life'. See the new collection here.

What drew you to the particular historical figures you have depicted?

Sorry to disappoint, but there not really historical, they’re dreams textures and thoughts.?

This collection features anonymous women, like “girl drinking tea” and “sunbather”. Who are these women, what do they represent for you?

Re; Girl drinking Tea. This one was a memory fusion really, i saw my mother as a muslim living in Morocco chatting to friends. The Sunbather…A provocative little catholic girl really. A teacher on holiday relaxing on the sand. Two opposites living together. 



What draws you to the genre of portraiture?

Why portraiture.? We like to see ourselves in an imaginary life, We dream of being everything we are not, at the very least someone we would rather be other than ourselves, essentially art is like going on holiday albeit momentarily. Blotting out the harsh reality. In my early school years we had the art teacher ask us to paint a self portrait. Every other student painted themselves as they saw themselves in the mirror. I drew myself as a pirate. When we presented our efforts i looked around at the other students work a chill came over me, i thought i would have been sent to the head masters office for not taking the class seriously. (I was brought up in a strict catholic school, where frivolity was frowned upon). But instead the teacher smiled and touched me on the shoulder, said nothing and walked on. We became good friends. That early champion stayed with me for years. I thought maybe this drawing thing could be something?


What do you think the purpose or role of portraiture is?

For me portraiture is about hunting the perfect mistake. Artist all seek that unholy alliance, one which draws you in. Its all about the line that looks so crooked it’s gorgeous. Life itself. Anyone can draw a straight line. Not everyone can draw the perfect fuck up.

What was your artistic process like for creating these works?

In the early 1980’s i managed rock bands in Melbourne’s St Kilda, a mad time. Nick Cave drew, or rather, as it turns out, cut out a skull, a title and a clarinet. He put them together for the cover of The Birthday Parties Mr Clarinet, a seven inch vinyl single. (Released 1980) That image hit me like a lightning bolt. I adored the simplicity. A couple of months ago i rang Phill Calvert, the drummer of the Birthday Party and he confirmed the above. Nick was inspired by Matisse. I was inspired by Nick Cave.

Cheers…..Peter Bainbridge.